How to prevent Dengue and Malaria from spreading in your society?

Dengue, Malaria, and Chickengunia are infections caused by mosquito bites, which are widely and extensively found in almost all of India and are a major public health concern for the government and a risk that residents of gated communities face commonly. In 2020, 228 malaria, 1,072 dengue, and 111 chikungunya cases were reported in India. Even though there has been a drastic decline in the last few years, there is always a chance that there can be a random outbreak, especially from April through November in the North and all year round in the southern regions. The Indian subcontinent is globally at a high risk of Dengue and Malaria which are serious diseases and should not be taken lightly.

Common Symptoms of Dengue and Malaria

  • General discomfort
  • Headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Rashes
  • Fever
  • Swollen glands
  • Chills
  • Backache, lower body pain
  • Easy bruising, light nose or gum bleeding, pale, clammy Skin

What is Malaria Symptoms?

  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • Joint pain
  • Abdominal pain and diarrhea

Note: Fever may or may not be accompanied by bouts of sweating. 

What is the difference between Malaria and Dengue? 

Dengue and Malaria are caused by two different breeds of mosquitoes. 

What causes Malaria?

The transmission of a parasite called Plasmodium causes Malaria when a person is bitten by a female Anopheles mosquito while

What causes Dengue?

Dengue is caused when a person gets bitten by an already infected Aedes aegypti mosquito’s bite.

Tips for prevention of Community-wide spread of malaria and dengue

  • Organize a volunteer team to spread awareness and education about the causes, symptoms, prevention, and cure of Malaria and Dengue at least once before each mosquito season (whenever it falls in your region).
  • If there are any wastewater bodies in your society premises, such as stagnating water pools, residual grey water collected from apartments (that might be left untreated), filthy stormwater, should be either completely cleaned and dried out or be treated as per the society’s waste management rules
  • If your society has open composting pits or gardening mulch laying around, it may attract mosquitoes. Keep the composting drums closed and avoid putting meat, fish, poultry, and bones in them. Gardening mulch should be disposed of immediately or recycled in composting drums. 
  • Another measure is to remove weeds, shrubs, and dead leaves from the society’s landscaping and to regularly throw out the dry and wet waste post segregation and not let it accumulate in individual homes and collectively at society levels. 
  • Vector-borne diseases thrive in monsoons. Make sure you don’t let water pools gather in the parking lots, basement, streets and storm drains throughout the monsoon season.
  • Advice residents, maintenance/domestic staff to use natural and organic insecticides in and around the house as well as plants. Organic antiseptic and antiviral plants such as lemongrass/lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, thyme oil, and Citronella, one of the most popular mosquito repellants and pyrethrum which is derived from the crushed flowers of a type of chrysanthemum species.
  • In case of community-wide infection in nearby areas, you could spread professional chemical insecticide spray services to prevent infections from spreading in your own society, however, make sure you use certified chemicals and use them cautiously as the last resort. 
  • Malaria can be prevented by mosquito bite prevention and Chemoprophylaxis, however, Dengue can be prevented by bite prevention alone. Dengue fever, if severe, can cause internal bleeding and damage the organs in worse-case scenarios. Hence, it’s vital that the managing committee and the residents take necessary actions to spread awareness so that a couple of cases don’t turn into an outbreak.

How to Prevent Malaria and Dengue at home?

Ensure mosquitoes don’t breed and form a habitat – Your surroundings and living space should be kept pristine for mosquitoes to keep away. Vector-borne diseases are particularly intense in monsoon and if the surroundings are unclean/filthy, they find it easy pickings to breed. Make sure that there is no stagnant water inside or around the house. Keep your potted plants clean and dry. Keep food items, lids and containers covered as well as the trash cans and garbage bags. Clean overhead water tankers, clogged gutters, and clear out water pools and old tyres, cardboard, and other junk from homes and society premises. 

Use mosquito repelling products – A good quality mosquito net is a great way to sleep safely at night since that’s when the mosquito attacks cannot be physically stopped. However, some people may feel claustrophobic sleeping under a net, in which case, it can be raised higher but make sure there are no holes and it’s tightly tucked in. Insect-killing products (sprays, creams, etc.) that contain an active ingredient called DEET are safe for use, however, they’re not safe to inhale. Mosquito coils are generally safe to use, however they should not be used in closed rooms. The residue left after the burn should be disposed of safely without touching the skin as it may cause an allergic reaction. 

Keep yourself covered – An outbreak of mosquitoes is quite common during spring, summers, and monsoons throughout India. Wear light-colored full-sleeved cotton clothing to avoid mosquito bites. In case of a bite, wash the bitten part with baking soda and warm water. Avoid traveling to places in which there may be outbreaks of any of these diseases. 

Don’t let them in Come evening, keep your windows and doors closed or you can install mosquito screens and check them periodically for holes and breakage. A well-screened house is your safest bet towards cutting the problem in half. You can purchase insect screens or door/window mesh online and install it yourself as well. 

Isolation in case of infection – These are highly infectious diseases and spread rapidly from one person to another. If anyone in your family or among the neighbors has contracted either Dengue or Malaria, you must prevent further infection by following the isolation, personal protection equipment, and distancing protocols (same as a Covid positive person). 

WHO Awareness regarding Dengue and Malaria

The WHO (World Health Organization) has published an ‘ABCD’  to spread awareness regarding Dengue and Malaria. It goes like this:

Awareness: Find out if you’re at the risk of Malaria (or Dengue) within your neighborhood and educate the residents about the risks of not taking preventive measures. 

Bite prevention: Make sure you take all the aforementioned preventive measures to prevent mosquito bites. Additionally, you can insecticide-treat your bed, furniture, and home surroundings. 

Chemoprophylaxis means that you take antimalarial medication to prevent any infections.

Diagnosis means that as soon as you notice symptoms, you seek prompt diagnosis and treatment to cure the infection at the right time. 

Read:

Records and Books to be Maintained by a Cooperative Housing Society

Rights and Duties of Tenants in Housing Societies

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